Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

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Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

The Criterion Channel may not be your typical Halloween go-to streaming service, but this October, they’ve pulled out all the stops to offer a fantastic selection of horror movies. From classic to obscure, there’s something for every horror fan to enjoy. So, let’s dive into some of the best horror gems available on the Criterion Channel this spooky season.

Cat People (1942): A Unique Psychological Twist on Werewolf Films

Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

When it comes to old-school scares, most people’s knowledge of the horror genre begins and ends with the Universal Monster movies of the 1930s. However, Val Lewton’s run of horror films at RKO in the 1940s remains one of the great, unimpeachable stretches of films in the genre’s storied history. The best of these films is Cat People, a unique and psychological twist on the typical werewolf films. The result is a transfixing tale of anxiety, repression, and self-doubt that stands out among most of the psychologically inflexible features of its time.

Odd Obsession (1959): A Darkly Comic Japanese Thriller

Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

Part of an inspired horror double feature with the British classic Peeping Tom (1960), this rarely seen and darkly comic Japanese thriller is the perfect supplement to the season’s usual suspects of masked slashers and ghoulish hauntings. Kon Ichikawa brings us this nuanced portrait of psychosexual torment that is generally unlike anything else being produced in Japan at that time.

Kuroneko (1968): A Hauntingly Poetic J-Horror Classic

Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

When you think of J-Horror, chances are that the first thing to come to mind is a slew of late 90s / early 2000s horror movies. However, Japan’s first foray into the horror genre can be traced back to the 1960s with films like Kwaidan (1964), Onibaba (1964), and Kaneto Shindo’s mesmeric Kuroneko. Telling the story of malevolent female spirits seeking revenge against hapless Samurai in medieval Japan, Kuroneko is a hauntingly poetic and gorgeously shot film that predicts much of what J-Horror would eventually emerge as by the end of the century.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): The Definitive Version of a Classic Story

Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

The centerpiece of the Criterion Channel’s October lineup is a sprawling, 28-film collection of 1970s horror films. An exemplar of 1970s paranoia, the Philip Kaufman remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been considered the definitive version of the 1950s-emergent story for generations of young cinephiles. Featuring an A-list cast and thoroughly modern sensibilities, the film successfully marries the disillusionment of the decade to the decades-old story of alien replicants infiltrating the very heart of America.

Videodrome (1983): A Sick Amalgamation of Sex, Emerging Technologies, and Human Experience

Discover the Best Horror Gems on Criterion Channel This Halloween

Renowned as the master of body horror, Canadian auteur David Cronenberg produced many of the most visually distinct and viscerally unpleasant horror movies of the late 20th century. The Criterion Channel offers a number of early Cronenberg films as part of its monolithic ’70’s Horror’ collection, but the one that has always captivated me the most is Videodrome (1983). A sick amalgamation of sex, emerging technologies, and the increasingly plugged-in reality of human experience, it acts as an early Western analog to later J-Horror entries like Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Ringu (1998), and Pulse (2001), following one man’s desperate quest to track down the mysterious source of a sordid pirate television program called Videodrome.

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